The health, safety, and well-being of our U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes is our highest priority. Monitoring and disciplining the activity of coaches is an important component of that responsibility.
As we noted on March 20, former snowboard coach Peter Foley was terminated by U.S. Ski & Snowboard. He had been on a leave of absence since Feb. 21, 2022.
Ordinarily, as is the policy of most organizations, we do not comment further on the details of personnel matters. However, because of the considerable public interest in this matter, and questions that have arisen surrounding it, we believe it is appropriate to now provide additional information.
Beginning on February 6, 2022, we were made aware of information alleging sexual and other misconduct by Mr. Foley. As required by law, we immediately forwarded that information to the U.S. Center for Safe Sport, which by federal statute has exclusive jurisdiction over investigations of sexual misconduct made by members of U.S. Ski & Snowboard and all other organizations that participate in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movement.
Based on this same information, U.S. Ski & Snowboard opened our own investigation into other forms of workplace misconduct, including alleged bullying and the creation of a hostile work environment, against Mr. Foley. This investigation was led by our general counsel, Alison Pitt. We did this because it is our obligation to maintain a healthy and welcoming workplace free of all forms of discrimination and misconduct, not just sexual harassment.
Inevitably there was some overlap between the Center’s sexual misconduct investigation and the U.S. Ski & Snowboard investigation into other workplace misconduct. When there was, the record is clear: Ms. Pitt passed that information along to the Center promptly, sometimes within minutes. She and U.S. Ski & Snowboard strongly support the Center’s work and cooperated in every way with the Center’s investigation.
In one isolated instance, a U.S. Ski & Snowboard board member – not on our staff – spoke with two of the athletes regarding their allegations and, apparently believing she was obliged to maintain the athlete’s confidence, failed to forward the information to the Center. This was a mistake, which we regret, and this individual is no longer associated with the organization. But that isolated instance certainly does not reflect U.S. Ski & Snowboard policy or practice, and that information was eventually provided to the Center so that its investigation would not be impeded.
While the Center’s sexual misconduct investigation apparently remains ongoing, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard investigation into a broader array of workplace issues found sufficient information to warrant suspending Mr. Foley from his duties on February 21 and ordering him not to contact any of the athletes. We then terminated his employment on March 20, effective immediately. He was terminated after reports surfaced of his contribution to a toxic culture among the team in the workplace where certain athletes were favored over others – and not as a result of reports of sexual misconduct, which we referred to, and are in the exclusive purview of, the Center. To protect the privacy of the various people involved we are not providing additional details concerning the alleged misconduct.
In messages to our athletes and other members of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard community on March 24, CEO Sophie Goldschmidt said the following:
“I am fully committed to creating a culture of transparency and accountability at U.S. Ski & Snowboard and creating the best environment for our athletes, staff and members. I encourage anyone who is aware of any issues of harassment or abuse at our organization to come forward. We are working to put additional channels and resource opportunities in place so that athletes, staff and all members of our organization have options to communicate concerns regarding this situation and others that may arise. This is in addition to mental health resources that we have available for all athletes and staff.”
The entire U.S. Ski & Snowboard community are committed to placing athletes first, and to supporting their health, safety and well-being at every turn.
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